January 2018 Archives

William A. Jacobson explains how recent revelations can help us understand what went on at the infamous Tarmac Meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton.

So what significance does the tarmac meeting take in this new context?

Remember, Lynch insisted that she and Clinton only talked about grandchildren and other non-investigation matters during that half hour conversation. That didn't make sense if the tarmac meeting was the start of a collusive effort, there must have been something more.

But the tarmac meeting being only small talk does make sense if it was the end point, not the starting point. By then, it was clear within the FBI that Hillary would be exonerated, the statement already was drafted and re-drafted and reviewed, and Lynch likely knew it. Hillary's interview, which was not under oath and not recorded, was a formality so the predetermined decision could assume the patina of legitimacy.

So the tarmac meeting very likely signaled to Hillary through Bill that all was good, that there was nothing to worry about regarding her upcoming FBI interview.

Next time you're under federal investigation, remember to have your spouse meet privately with the attorney general to get the inside scoop.

It's hard to imagine how President Obama and his team could have done more damage to the world if they'd tried -- short of starting a nuclear war. In their effort to avoid conflict, Obama's foreign policy team left a trail of ruined countries, refugees, and corpses.

So The Final Year is about the Obama Doctrine, also known as hashtag diplomacy, also known as leading from behind, also known as voting "present" -- also known as hands-off. That a lot of people can get killed while you're wringing them is the movie's unintended lesson. Summing up, I give you none other than Samantha "Soft" Power herself, who near the end of the doc says in a moment of sudden clarity: "My world is a world where you have 65 million displaced. Yemen and Syria and Iraq, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, Central African Republic, Burundi, South Sudan, Darfur, you know, the list, Afghanistan, of course, Venezuela imploding . . . There are concerns about terrorism and there is a fear of the other and . . . all the trendlines -- on democracy, right now, at least -- are going in the wrong direction."

If only she or her friends had held positions of authority, maybe they could have done something about some of that.

Foreign policy is hard, and Obama's team never had any respect for the legacy that had been bequeathed to them.

Whatever you think about climate change, it's obvious that several states and municipalities are conspiring to extort oil companies by using lawsuits to allege damage due to climate change. The conspiracy is blatantly hypocritical, and ExxonMobil's lawyers are having a field day. The litigants suing ExxonMobil now have previously asserted in their bond offerings that the risk of climate change was unknown or unknowable. From ExxonMobil's response to the lawsuit:

Implementing a different page of the La Jolla playbook, a number of California municipal governments recently filed civil tort claims against ExxonMobil and 17 other Texas- based energy companies. In those lawsuits, each of the municipalities warned that imminent sea level rise presented a substantial threat to its jurisdiction and laid blame for this purported injury at the feet of energy companies.

Notwithstanding their claims of imminent, allegedly near-certain harm, none of the municipalities disclosed to investors such risks in their respective bond offerings, which collectively netted over $8 billion for these local governments over the last 27 years. To the contrary, some of the disclosures affirmatively denied any ability to measure those risks; the others virtually ignored them. At least two municipal governments [one of them San Mateo] reassured investors that they were "unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur, when they may occur, and if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the County and the local economy."

So when they want to borrow money, climate change is no risk; when they want to sue for damages, climate change is a huge risk.

California is offering to split the federal tax savings with local corporations, but it's hard to see why that's a good deal unless your business needs to be in California.

Trump's plan reduced the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, which Republican and business leaders hailed as an incentive for a surge of capital investment and job growth. But Democrats denounced the change as a giveaway to the wealthy that would grow the national debt and require future cuts to welfare programs such as Medicaid.

The proposal from McCarty and Ting creates a new tax for businesses in California, which already has a state corporate tax rate of 8.84 percent. Companies with annual net income of more than $1 million in California would pay an additional surcharge of 7 percent, or half their savings from the recent federal tax cut.

If approved by two-thirds of the Legislature, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 22 would go before the voters for final consideration. Proponents estimate it would raise between $15 billion and $17 billion a year, which would be directed toward funding for education, college affordability initiatives, child care and preschool slots, taxpayer rebates and an expansion of California's Earned Income Tax Credit.

The $15 - $17 billion estimate is a static analysis that doesn't take into account the likelihood that some businesses will reduce their footprint in California, or just leave. Reducing the federal rate means that a company doesn't have to leave the country to benefit, it only has to leave California.

President Trump decried immigration from "shithole countries". (Funny, my fingers keep typing "shithold" and I have to backspace a lot.) Obviously, I condemn what President Trump said.

Other details of the plan had emerged in recent days. Senators plan to effectively nix the visa lottery and reallocating those visas to a separate program being terminated by the Trump administration aiding immigrants from countries facing natural disasters or civil strife. Countries affected so far by Trump's ending of Temporary Protected Status include El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan.

It was when Trump was being briefed on those provisions that he asked why the United States was admitting immigrants from "shithole countries," according to two sources familiar with the meeting.

Trump has denied using that language, but not the sentiment. Who knows. It seems that only the President and a few senators were present, but I'm sure their flunkies were around also.

My prediction is that within a week polling will show that a majority of Americans agree with Trump's sentiment.

"The Long-run Effects of Teacher Collective Bargaining" concludes that teachers unions hurt the education and later careers of students.

Our estimates suggest that teacher collective bargaining worsens the future labor market outcomes of students: living in a state that has a duty-to-bargain law for all 12 grade-school years reduces earnings by $800 (or 2%) per year and decreases hours worked by 0.50 hours per week. The earnings estimate indicates that teacher collective bargaining reduces earnings by $199.6 billion in the US annually. We also find evidence of lower employment rates, which is driven by lower labor force participation, as well as reductions in the skill levels of the occupations into which workers sort. The effects are driven by men and nonwhites, who experience larger relative declines in long-run outcomes. Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we demonstrate that collective bargaining leads to sizable reductions in measured cognitive and non-cognitive skills among young adults. Taken together, our results suggest laws that support collective bargaining for teachers have adverse long-term labor market consequences for students.

But, of course, teachers unions are designed to advantage teachers, not students.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded the memo that instructed federal prosecutors not to enforce federal marijuana laws in states where marijuana is legal under state law. Republicans and Democrats are both upset.

Sessions' move infuriated Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who said he's placing a hold on Justice Department nominees and will try to push legislation to protect marijuana sales in states where they are legal.

Colorado's senior senator, Democrat Michael Bennet, also slammed Sessions' move.

"In rescinding the Cole memo, the Attorney General failed to listen to Colorado, and will create unnecessary chaos and confusion," he said on Twitter.

Maybe President Trump will take this opportunity to pass marijuana legalization through Congress. It seems like legalization would be an easy law to pass, and would be broadly popular.

Look, it's pretty obvious to everyone that Hillary Clinton broke the law and then received special treatment because she was expected to be the next president.

For the first time, investigators say they have secured written evidence that the FBI believed there was evidence that some laws were broken when the former secretary of State and her top aides transmitted classified information through her insecure private email server, lawmakers and investigators told The Hill. ...

"The sheer volume of information that was properly classified as Secret at the time it was discussed on email (that is, excluding the "up classified" emails) supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information," the FBI's original draft read, according to a source who has seen it.

Not only was there slam-dunk evidence of criminality, but the decision to exonerate Clinton was made before many key witnesses were even interviewed -- because the decision was driven by the political timeline.

Republican investigators say the most glaring irregularity they have found is the decision to begin drafting a statement exonerating Clinton before much of the investigative interviewing and evidence gathering was even done.

While the first draft of the statement was dated May 2, 2016, FBI records gathered by congressional investigators show agents were still receiving evidence responsive to grand jury subpoenas well after that, including documents and other evidentiary items logged on May 13, May 19 and May 26.

A House GOP lawmaker told The Hill his staff also has identified at least a dozen interviews that were conducted after the drafting effort began, including of some figures who would have key information about intent or possible destruction of evidence.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) staff has a higher number: 17 witnesses including Clinton were interviewed after the decision was already made.

The Democrats shouldn't have coronated Hillary. Hopefully America is rid of the Clintons for good this time, along with their cloud of corruption.

This story about a "SWATting" death is an important lesson, not just for the police but for everyone.

A 28-year-old Kansas man was shot and killed by police officers on the evening of Dec. 28 after someone fraudulently reported a hostage situation ongoing at his home. The false report was the latest in a dangerous hoax known as "swatting," wherein the perpetrator falsely reports a dangerous situation at an address with the goal of prompting authorities to respond to that address with deadly force. This particular swatting reportedly originated over a $1.50 wagered match in the online game Call of Duty. Compounding the tragedy is that the man killed was an innocent party who had no part in the dispute.

Police in Los Angeles reportedly have arrested 25-year-old Tyler Raj Barriss in connection with the swatting attack.

Not only was the 911 call itself a hoax, but the address given by the intended victim was a lie as well -- both the perpetrator and the intended victim contributed to the death of a completely un-involved third party.

If your house is surrounded by police officers, what's the safest way to respond? Probably not by opening the door and moving your arms around. Maybe it would be safer to have your family all lie down on the floor and then call 911 yourself to see what's going on.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2018 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2017 is the previous archive.

February 2018 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Email blogmasterofnoneATgmailDOTcom for text link and key word rates.

Site Info